Proud of its employee-satisfaction record, digital studio Bakken & Bæck sees itself as one big family. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the company turned to real-life siblings to refresh its offices in Oslo and Amsterdam.
What is surprising, however, is that Norwegian brother and sister—and next-door neighbors—Bjarne and Astrid Kvistad had no interior design credentials. But they and their respective spouses, Miriam and Ziemowit—who has assumed his wife’s surname—share many creative skills, from knitting to carpentry, and simply wanted to work together. Bjarne, then a graphic designer at Bakken & Bæck, knew the company wanted to expand its Oslo cafeteria, so the nascent Kvistad firm made its first project pitch. “We met with Bakken & Bæck’s executive team,” Ziemowit reports, “and they liked our crazy ideas so much that they decided to overhaul the entire office.”
To re-energize the tired 6,500-square-foot former industrial quarters, the designers came up with a theme: Scandinavian Spaceship. “We love 1970s interiors,” Astrid explains. Inspired by a sample of azure solid surfacing, the firm wrapped the entire space in seamless Nordic blue, with six gathering areas adding playful pops of contrasting color. They carpeted some walls and, having learned weaving, created rugs to hang as art on others. “Then we chose furnishings with slender legs, so they look like they are floating,” Astrid adds.
Bakken & Bæck ended up loving the Oslo office so much, the studio engaged Kvistad to overhaul its Amsterdam outpost. The firm was presented with 2,000 square feet consisting of a long, low room, with one big window overlooking a canal. “It made us think of Yellow Submarine!” Ziemowit says.
While clearly having fun, the Kvistads, who have just completed a third Bakken & Bæck office in Bonn, Germany, had to work hard at their new profession. “The biggest challenge was doing everything—from the business side to making furniture—for the first time,” Ziemowit says. “But we did it.”
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Sources: From Top: Areti: Sconces (Lounge). Bemz: Custom Sofa UpholStery. Ikea: Sofa (Lounge), Hanging System (Coatroom), Tables (Office Area). &Tradition: Ceiling Fixture (Lounge). Kvadrat: Custom Pillow Fabric. Hay: Table (Lounge), Vase (Break-Out Area). Satelliet: Chairs (Office Area). Sancal: Love Seat (Office Area), Lounge Chairs (Break-Out Area). DuPont: Solid Surfacing (Kitchen). Vola: Sink Fittings. Gubi: Pendant Fixtures (Meeting Area). Menu.As: Tables, Chairs. Eumenes: Armchairs. Tacchini: Table (Break-Out Area). Throughout: Jotun: Paint. Eg Prosjekt: General Contractor (Oslo). Venserojecten: General Contractor (Amsterdam).